Now that we are about knee-deep in the 2012 Purdue Football Countdown, it is about time that we see some true diversity in each players' rank on the all-powerful Depth Chart and their differing, unique back stories. So far, I have profiled a rising star and then a proven stud. And now today, as my luck would have it, we get to look at a player of a completely different caliber. Please welcome: the unknown/mysterious transfer with huge upside and an odd back story.
Greg Latta - Jr. (JUCO)
Hometown: La Quinta, CA (College of the Desert)
6'6", 265 pounds
2012 projection: Reserve at Defensive End, Special Teams contributor
Greg Latta is a bit a mystery to many Boilermaker football fans, which is understandable; the guy is a new transfer from junior college this season. But, after digging a little deeper into the story of Latta's road to Purdue, I managed to uncover some very intriguing and odd things about #91.
For starters, Greg didn't even play football in high school. That's right, you read that correctly the first time. Latta's only formal football playing experience has been the past two seasons he spent at College of the Desert, a community college located in Palm Desert, California. Instead, his focus in high school was on basketball. For the curious, here is a 2008-2009 MaxPreps basketball recruiting profile I found on a certain Greg Latta, Center slash Forward for the La Quinta Blackhawks: http://www.maxpreps.com/athletes/W7SDYvijrE6ZvPKBt6LSJw/basketball-winter-08-09/profile-greg-latta.htm. I'm not quite sure how Greg ended up changing his focus from basketball to football so drastically at such an odd time, and frankly I don't care because it doesn't really matter. But two things are clear: First, Latta's path to Purdue is certainly strange. And secondly, he is a welcomed addition to the 2012 Purdue football team.
To his credit, Latta is huge. Nay, he defies nature. #91 has all of the physical tools and potential to success on the gridiron, Also, it is helpful to know that Greg may be quite a versatile and athletic weapon for the Boilers in the near future. He accrued significant playing time at both Defensive End and Tight End while at College of the Desert. To see exactly what I am talking about, here is some highlight tape of Latta at College of the Desert I unearthed: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/380141/highlights/2396407. He is #89 in the video. Also, it has that convenient arrow to point out where Greg is on the field so you can find him and his recruiter can get a swift pat on the back.
Unfortunately for the big guy, Latta is due to be a reserve at Defensive End this coming season and I am not sure if Danny Hope plans to use him as a Tight End at all. With Ryan Russell and Robert Maci basically cemented into both starting Defensive End spots and younger players fighting for minutes on the field, it will be up to #91 to work his way into the rotation at DE and garner some significant playing time.
On a positive note, Greg will probably be featured on multiple special teams units this season. But for Greg Latta, patience and hard work are key. If health issues arise at the D-End spot this season, Purdue has a monster with huge potential waiting in the wings.
Follow Greg Latta on his Twitter at @greg_latta.